In the summer of 2011 Joe Cortez, was Inducted into to The International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota,New York
Joe was born and raised in New York City in Spanish Harlem, and lived in Puerto Rico for 8 years. Like many young men in the neighborhood, Joe and his brother Mike gravitated toward boxing they were a team in amateur bouts and Golden Gloves tournaments and continued on the competed professionally. Joe stoped fighting because of lack of boxing opportunities at that time.
Joe married his wife Sylvia in 1965. He then relocated to Puerto Rico in 1969 with his wife and two daughters: Cindy and Sandy and started a 15 year career in the hotel industry. He worked his way up the ranks at the El Conquistador Hotel in Fajardo, Puerto Rico as a Front Desk Clerk to Executive Assistant Manager of the hotel. In 1976 he moved back to New York City and work with the parent company- El San Juan Hotel Corporation as Assistant Casino Operating Manager for all three properties in Puerto Rico,The El San Juan, The Palace, El Conquistador Hotels. In 1982 he ventured onto an entrepreneurial career, purchasing a deli in Yonkers, New York. In Yonkers he became involved in the community and gave his support to the task force and crack and many PAL events to encourage kids to a stay off drugs by speaking to them at various school throughout the state.
He also helped sponsor Project Return Program in the Bronx for youths making a return into the community. From there he developed and implemented a successful community outreach vision program with leading ophthalmologist in New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, and Chicago to provide those in need in the community with eye care services. He participated in many health fair events along with the Lions Club.
Upon returning to New York City in 1976 Joe became involved as a boxing referee with the PAL and Golden Gloves. He's spent 6 months as an amateur referee and was pushed into the professional level by his mentor Path Mascia. He applied and received his first referee license from New York State in 1977, then recieved his license with the New Jersey State Athletic Commission in 1978. He also holds a license in the state of Nevada , WBC,WBA IBF and the WBO From there on he has refereed over 175 world title Championships fights in over 11 countries. His dream was to do just one Championship bout.
Joe and Sylvia now live in Las Vegas along with their daughters Cindy, Sandy, Christine and grandchildren, Ricky, Bryce, Ayana and Mya. His family had a tragic auto accident in California in June 1996 where his daughter Cindy and his wife Sylvia were injured. The accident caused Cindy serious spinal cord injury and she is now a quadriplegic. Because of her fighting spirit and determination she fought like a champion and is now much better, Joe’s focus is now is to create awareness for spinal cord injuries. He now helps raise funds for the spinal cord injury research. While Cindy was a patient in Loma Linda University Medical Center Rehabilitation Unit, she received an encouraging phone call from Christopher Reeve who was touched by her focus and determination. Hopefully one day with God's help in the near future she will walk again.
“Boxing has afforded me a spot in the limelight and I intend to use the opportunity to help set a good role model to the youth and minorities and help wherever I can”, Joe replied during a recent interview with a leading magazine. He previously worked with the Clark County School District Police Department on a special federal grant through the Justice Department from Washington, DC, to help at risk youth with a boxing program that not only taught boxing but discipline, self esteem and raise their confidence level. Joe Cortez is now an Alumni who graduated from the FBI Nevada Citizen's Academy In 2004 , Joe was also a Deputy Constable in the City of North Las Vegas.Joe was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame In 1998 , Joe Cortez was inducted into the World Boxing Hall Of Fame 2007,In 2011 Joe was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame along with Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Kostya Tzu, Nacho Berenstein and Sylvester Stallone,in 2013 Was also inducted in the The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. Joe considered one of the top referees in the boxing industry is looking forward to growing with the sport now that he is a boxing analyst with ESPN.
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